Tuberville: Offense Looking For Consistency

Tommy Tuberville talks about Auburn's offensive game against Ole Miss and what he's seen this season in the running game.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming off another disappointing loss, this one to Ole Miss, the Auburn Tigers got back to work on Sunday looking for some positives to build on heading into homecoming week against UT-Martin. Coach Tommy Tuberville said one of those is the play of sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns.

In just his second complete game as a quarterback, Burns completed 27-43 passes for 319 yards and made some plays to help the offense move the football. Unfortunately he also threw three interceptions, something Tuberville said they've got to eliminate if they hope to move forward as an offense.

"Kodi is getting better going through his reads," Tuberville said. "We cut back on them earlier now we're adding more to them. We're adding more offense to what he can do. He made some very, very good decisions and he made some very, very bad ones. That's part of growing up. Young quarterbacks, you have to give them enough offense to move the team.

"Last week against West Virginia we were more of a running game and play-action," he added. "This week we went more to the shotgun to give him the opportunity to throw the ball down the field more. We'll just see how much he can handle. He handled a little bit more and some he didn't handle quite as well. He'll learn from every situation and he'll get better."

Some of the things Tuberville said Burns has improved on is throwing the out routes to the sidelines. He noted that his sophomore is still holding the ball too long and isn't making decisions as well in the middle of the field.

Auburn attempted to run the football and throw short early against Ole Miss but that turned into downfield passing in the second quarter and second half. Tuberville said what the Rebels were doing on defense made the Tigers get more aggressive in the passing game.

"The gameplan was to try to run the football more to the corners," Tuberville said. "We knew they were going to stack the box. They did a pretty good job of disguising their coverages. We weren't nearly as effective with the first half gameplan. At halftime we decided we had to throw the ball down the field and get it down the field in a hurry and get them off us.

"It worked because we had nearly 300 yards in the second half, but we also threw a couple of interceptions. We were our own worst enemy. We had a chance to win that game and didn't take advantage when we got down close. Sometimes you've got to live to kick a field goal and that one time really hurt us."

Trying to run the ball to the corners of the defense has been a consistent them for the Auburn Tigers this season. Tuberville said for one this team has not been physical enough in the running game to make it work. Secondly he said the running backs haven't been running where the play is supposed to go, making for a long day of trying to run the football.

"In the past we've been able to run the ball with eight or nine in the box," he said. "We're just not physical enough. Our running backs, we're not hitting the holes North and South. We're running too much lateral. Just little things like that are hurting us. We don't have the one guy at running back we know we can call his number and they're going to do the perfect thing like we have in the past. We've got a bunch of guys back there who are kind of alternating in trying to find the right consistency."

Tuberville added that Mario Fannin and Ben Tate have probably been the most consistent of Auburn's running backs to this point in the season. He noted that mental mistakes have been costly for Auburn's running game, not only in protection and asssignments but also very important things such as running to the correct hole.

"The one play in the shotgun (zone read running play) is designed to hit outside the guard," Tuberville said. "We have been very inconsistent all year with that. One time it's there where you're outside the guard then you've got the cutback. If you're going too far outside the guard then there is never a cutback. You can't read it. There's a fine line in there of running backs going the right track. We haven't run the right track in a while. It's playing a lot of guys. Consistency hasn't been there."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories